WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Nov. 18, another lawsuit was filed in North Carolina state court challenging the state’s newly passed legislative and congressional maps drawn following the release of 2020 census data. The complaint, filed on behalf of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and a group of voters consisting of former elected officials, civil rights leaders and math and computer science professors, argues that the new state House, state Senate and congressional maps dilute the voting strength of Black voters and entrench Republican power across the state. The lawsuit asks the court to block the use of the current maps for the 2022 election cycle, ordering the use of proposed remedial maps if needed, and delay the candidate filing deadline for the 2022 elections to ensure that fair maps are in place. This is the third lawsuit filed related to North Carolina’s redistricting process and results.
Specifically, the lawsuit puts forth three arguments against the new maps. First, the complaint alleges that the new districts “crack” and “pack” Democratic voters across the state in order to solidify Republican power, despite a nearly even split among Republicans and Democrats in recent voting trends. The plaintiffs argue this clear partisan gerrymandering was intentionally done by the Republican-controlled General Assembly to “guarantee that Republicans will control the North Carolina congressional delegation and General Assembly” in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. Second, the complaint alleges that Black voters were “cracked” among certain districts and packed into others in order to dilute their voting strength and prevent them from electing their candidate of choice in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. Given the prevalence of racially polarized voting in the state, “Black citizens’ ability to attain anything approaching fair representation in the General Assembly and in North Carolina’s congressional delegation thus hinges on fair districting” — which was intentionally not done here, according to the complaint, partly because the legislators allegedly refused to incorporate racial or partisan analysis into their map-drawing process. Finally, the complaint alleges that the state House and Senate maps unnecessarily split up counties — often Democratic ones — in order to further solidify Republican power.